Tens of thousands of hotels don’t allow guests to direct dial emergency services when they press 911, a national survey found after a 9-year-old was unable to get help while her mother was being stabbed to death.
Kari Rene Hunt Dunn, 31, was murdered in a Marshall, Texas, hotel room on Dec. 1, 2013, in front of her three children. Her alleged killer is her estranged husband, Brad Allen Dunn, who she planned to divorce.
During the attack, her 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 four times, but she didn’t know she had to press 9 to dial out at the Baymont Inn and Suites, The Associated Press reported.
Now Hunt Dunn’s father, Hank Hunt, is petitioning to pass Kari’s Law, which would force hotels to allow 911 to be directly dialed from its rooms.
On Monday, the office of Federal Communications Commission member Ajit Pai announced the results of a survey conducted by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, which found that 45 percent of franchised hotels and 32 percent of independent hotels have direct 911 dialing.
"These statistics are alarming. They show that the telephone systems at tens of thousands of lodging properties across this country could fail Americans when it counts," Pai said in a statement. "My message to the hospitality industry has been straightforward: This is not acceptable."
Pai said InterContinental, Marriott and Hilton hotels are now working to change their systems for direct 911 dialing.
"It's very, very encouraging," Hank Hunt said Monday. "The number of people that seem to be taking an interest in getting this done is increasing at a rate that we weren't expecting."
The Change.org petition has more than 440,000 signatures as of Tuesday.